E.U. Parliament votes on proposals to cut emissions 20 percent by 2020
On Tuesday, the European Parliament’s environment committee voted on a range of proposals intended to help achieve the European Union’s ambitious goal of cutting its greenhouse-gas emissions 20 percent by 2020. The committee voted to force E.U. utilities to buy all their pollution permits by 2013 and to enact strict carbon caps on power plants by 2015 that would essentially prohibit coal plants that don’t use carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, which so far doesn’t exist on a commercial scale. In a complimentary measure, members also voted to fund a $13 billion program to test CCS technology. However, in a concession to other heavily polluting industries that face more international competition, such as steel and cement manufacturing, the committee said they should not be required to buy all their pollution permits until 2020; since E.U. emissions trading began in 2005, industry has received most of its pollution permits for free. The green measures will come up for a final vote by the full Parliament in December where they face opposition from a coalition of coal-reliant countries, led by Poland.